Westminster Endowment & Special Gifts Fund
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."
-- 1 Peter 4:10
The Bible teaches us that money is our servant and not our master, because only God is worthy of our worship. The Bible also teaches us that God’s blessings extend to future generations and emphasizes our role to build on what we have inherited. An endowment fund contribution reflects a donor’s gratitude for God’s blessings and faith in the future.
What Is the Endowment & Special Gifts Fund?
Since 1995, Westminster has been blessed to have the Westminster Endowment and Special Gifts Fund. Per its Declaration, the Endowment Fund “was created to enable and encourage individuals to extend their financial stewardship beyond their lifetimes, to further the ministry of Jesus Christ and to show gratitude for God’s blessings.”
Giving to the Endowment Fund
One generation shall praise your works to another. --Psalm 145:4
Martin Luther said that every twenty years or so God builds a new church out of little children. We can pass our faith to the next generation, not only by teaching, but by the use of our resources. By remembering the church in our wills, providing even after our death for funds to be available for ministries or missions which were important to us in life, we can continue those things that make for faith.
A donation to the Endowment Fund provides funding for mission, property, and other needs as they arise. Designated gifts provide a vehicle to direct funds to the ministry area that is most closely aligned with the giver’s passions. Donations can be for funding special projects chosen by the Endowment Committee or for a particular purpose. General donations are held in perpetuity and the income allocated to projects each year.
Ways to Give to the Endowment & Special Gifts Fund
Members are encouraged to donate to the fund during their lifetimes or with a charitable bequest. You may also want to explore other estate planning options, such as designating the church as the beneficiary of an insurance policy, savings bonds, appreciated stocks, IRA account or charitable gift annuity. Please consult with your financial advisor with any of these giving options you would like to pursue.
Like many who have remembered the church in their wills, you have probably been nourished and supported by the Westminster faith community. It’s a privilege to give back to the church that has been such a big part of family life. Bequest gifts have the power to impact future generations in the same way.
It’s easy to include the church in your will and still provide for loved ones. A will is unique and must be structured to fit the needs of each individual in accordance with the laws of the state. For this reason you should consult a lawyer to assist you in drafting your will or estate plan.
At the close of 2015, lawmakers approved the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act. A provision of this Act made permanent Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from individual retirement accounts. This is superb news for those looking to support their favorite missions and congregations in a tax-advantaged way.
1. Donor must be 70½ or older at the time the distribution is made
2. QCDs are made from IRAs or Roth IRAs
3. Distributions must be made directly to an organization eligible to receive tax deductible contributions (certain exclusions apply)
4. $100,000 annual limit
5. Charity receiving gift must provide donor proper substantiation of the gift
-- Can satisfy required minimum distribution (RMD) requirements in year QCD is made
-- QCD amount is not included in the donor’s adjusted gross income, helping to potentially avoid increased taxes on SSI, higher Medicare premiums, and the loss of deductions/exemptions
-- Provides donors that use the standard deduction a tax efficient way to make a charitable gift
What is a Charitable Gift Annuity?
A charitable gift annuity is a contract between a donor and a charity with the following terms: As a donor, you make a sizable gift to charity using cash, securities or possibly other assets. In return, you become eligible to take a partial tax deduction for your donation, plus you receive a fixed stream of income from the charity for the rest of your life.
How does a Charitable Gift Annuity work?First, you make a donation to your charity of choice. Then, the gift is set aside in a reserve account and invested. Based on your age(s) at the time of the gift, you receive a fixed monthly or quarterly payout (typically supported by the investment account) for the rest of your life. At the end of your life (as well as your spouse’s, if you’re giving as a couple), the charity receives the remainder of the gift.
What is a Charitable Remainder Trust?A Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) is a gift of cash or other property to an irrevocable trust. The donor receives an income stream from the trust for a term of years or for life and the named charity receives the remaining trust assets at the end of the trust term. The donor receives an immediate income tax charitable deduction when the CRT is funded based on the present value of the assets that will eventually go to the named charity.
Be sure to consult with your tax, financial or investment professional about these options for giving to the Endowment.
Recent Endowment and Special Gifts Funded Projects
Grants from the Endowment Fund corpus in 2021 were recommended and approved by Session in the amount of $150,000 (4% of corpus) for the following:
Key Church Personnel-- $17,000
Comprehensive Church Rebranding and Communications/IT Upgrades-- $91,000
Bridge Service upgrades - carpeting, lectern, signage, etc. -- $10,500
Sangli Industrial School (India) reconstruction -- $16,000
Homewood new pre-school construction -- $10,000
Ethiopia (Hawassa Hope) grants for female entrepreneurs -- $ 5,500
Special Gifts funds can receive gifts or bequests for special purposes such as the Special Property Needs Fund, the McClintock Library Fund, the Kitchen Maintenance Fund, and the Music and Arts Fund. During 2021, notable gifts from these funds paid for the South Courtyard/Columbarium restoration and the used Steinway piano in the sanctuary.
History of the Endowment & Special Gifts Fund
The Endowment Fund was initiated in 1995 and received donations during the first few years to get established. It blossomed under the leadership of Reverend Bob Norris and then Dr. Stuart Broberg, a development officer from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, who also became WPC’s interim pastor in 2004. A strategic plan for development was created and professional investment advisors hired to manage the funds.
Through the generosity of WPC’s members and careful investment management, the Endowment has grown from approximately $217,000 in 1994 to $400,000 in 1997, to $2,000,000 in 2008, and exceeded $4,000,000 at the end of 2021.
Many gifts for special or “designated” purpose have been received and used over the years to improve the church and its programs. Among the most recent designated gifts have been the updating of the Galbreath Chapel and the design and purchase of the Taylor and Boody organ, restoration of the South Courtyard/Columbarium, and acquisition of the Steinway piano in the sanctuary.
How to Request Funds from Endowment and Special Gifts
Each year, according to its charter, the Endowment considers requests for funding for one-time needs that are outside the regular budget of the church.
If you’ve seen a need – within the church or in the wider community – that might be helped by a grant from the Endowment, you are encouraged to complete and submit an application for consideration.
No long, complicated proposals are needed. It’s just a simple form that gives the Endowment team what they need to see if funding can be made available. Typically, many good works are proposed so those seeking funding are encouraged to carefully consider the amount requested. That can allow as many requests as possible to be supported.
Applications are typically due at the end of March. We ask that you send these applications to one of the appropriate commission chairs of the church. Completed applications which have been vetted by a church commission should be emailed to Rob Wagner. You may also deliver them to the church office. If you have questions about submitting a request please contact Jo Forrest or any member of the Endowment Commission. There is help available to complete your form.